Home' Visitor Guide : 2019 Port Augusta Visitor Guide Contents 22 Port Augusta Visitor Guide 2019 / 20
1 WADLATA OUTBACK CENTRE, formerly St
Joseph’s Roman Catholic School. Two sisters of St
Joseph, the order founded by Saint Mary McKillop
in 1866, arrived in 1871 to establish a school in a shed
near the seaward end of Commercial Road. Later
they shared a cottage in Flinders Terrace, which
doubled as a convent, school and church. In 1927
Dr Kilian opened this building as a memorial to
Rev. John O’Reilly, the first Bishop of Port Augusta.
A separate secondary school was built in 1971,
and in 1983 the primary and secondary schools
re-combined to form Caritas College at Port
Augusta West. Wadlata was opened in 1988 and was
extensively upgraded in 2009.
> Commence your walk by turning left from the
entry to the Wadlata car park.
2 FOUNTAIN GALLERY, formerly St Joseph
Convent was built in 1915, and was expanded several
times before the Sisters were relocated to their new
home in Jervois Street in 1987. Its function as a gallery
was transferred to the new Cultural Precinct and it is
now used as office space. The fountain was originally
at Seafield Towers (previously known as the C. R .
Holiday Flats) in Glenelg, which was built for Thomas
Elder and Sir Henry Ayers.
3 ALL SAINTS CATHOLIC CHURCH. If you
proceed across the road bridge over the railway line
you will see the Mural on the Hill artwork which was
a community project in 1998 and depicts the history
of Port Augusta in ceramic tiles. The church was built
in the early 1970s when the original Roman Catholic
Church was in the path of the realigned highway.
> Cross the road at the lights.
4 FLINDERS MEMORIAL ARCH was unveiled
by Mayor L.G. Riches on April 28th 1948. Mr Riches
was the longest serving Mayor of the town, and also
an MP and Speaker in the House of Assembly. The
arch recognises Matthew Flinders, who discovered,
surveyed and named Spencer Gulf in 1802. Originally
Mount Brown and Spencer Gulf could be seen
through the arch, but trees now obscure the view.
PORT AUGUSTA SECONDARY SCHOOL is
down on the left – it was built in 1951 and the two
story block was opened in 1969. For nearly 40 years
there was a second high school in Augusta Park, but
they were re-amalgamated in 2012.
5 THE RAILWAY STATION was opened in 1917
by the Commonwealth Railways as part of the Trans-
Australia Railway. All trains except the coal train from
Leigh Creek pass through the station, and it is the
terminal for the restored Pichi Richi Railway which
runs between Quorn and Port Augusta as a tourist
attraction. The building itself is not a functioning
station any longer, and the Curdnatta Art Group
recently relocated there with work and exhibition
space in The Platform Gallery.
6 PORT AUGUSTA PRIMARY SCHOOL was
Port Augusta’s first government primary school,
opened in 1878. It was also used as a secondary
school until the high school was built, and for some
years the School of the Air provided a unique radio
education for students residing in the remote
outback from this location. Many alterations and
additions had been made over the years, but the
only original building is now being preserved and
used by the University of Adelaide.
7 POLICE STATION was opened in 1996,
replacing a station which was on the now vacant
block in Commercial Road. Opposite is the original
South Australian Railway Station, built in 1878.
The first track travelled along Gibson Street to the
Government jetty, where cargoes were transferred
to and from ships. As there were no other means of
transport, all the supplies for the town and outlying
areas were shipped to Port Augusta.
8 COOINDA CLUB HALL AND RESTAURANT
was built in the 1960s by the Commonwealth
Railways Institute which was a very strong social
and sporting group at a time when the railways
was one of the town’s major employers, with both
administrative and maintenance functions centered
in the town. The presence of the railways has
declined steadily since privatisation in the 1990s,
and the Cooinda complex is now closed.
COURTS COMPLEX. To the left along Flinders
Terrace is the new Courts Complex which was
opened in 2007, replacing the function of the old
9 COMMONWEALTH HOTEL, formerly known
as the Railway Hotel, or the Railway Terminus
Hotel, was modified from two previous shops in
1880. A well-known musically-inclined family, the
Hackendorfs, was connected with this hotel, and
during the time that they held the licence it was
affectionately known as the Crazy Cottage.
10 PORT AUGUSTA MEAT STORE. A butchers’
shop has been in this location since the 1890s,
probably making it the oldest continuous business
in the main street, apart from the hotels. It was
purchased in 1903 by a member of the Fullerton
family, and remained in family hands until 2008
when it was sold to Mr Surman. The head above the
entrance is a plaster cast of a long-horn bull which
the 1927 proprietor butchered.
11 SAINT AUGUSTINE’S CHURCH.
The foundation stone was laid in 1868 and the first
Divine Service conducted in July 1879. The existing
church’s foundation was laid in 1882, replacing an
original smaller structure. The bell was purchased in
1871. The hall at the rear of the church was completed
in 1878 and was originally the St Augustine’s High
School for Boys.
GIBSON STREET was named after Thomas
McTurk Gibson, who was the first Mayor of Port
Augusta when the town was proclaimed in 1875.
The terrace houses to the left were built in 1890,
and along with other cottages in this street are
among our oldest residences.
12 GULF & RANGES OPTOMETRISTS.
This building was originally built in 1874 as a
residence for Francis Bignell, a store-keeper who
commenced a small drapery in 1863. He joined
with Young in 1867 and Bignell & Young became
well-known as general store-keepers and shipping
agents over a wide area, becoming Young & Gordon
in 1881. Bignell only lived here for a matter of months
before the Young family occupied the house and
they only sold it in 1964. Bignell was also a partner in
the ostrich farm about 13km from Port Augusta which
operated from 1883 until 1901, when drought brought
about its closure.
13 4 GIBSON STREET is one of the more
significant dwellings in Port Augusta and was built
in 1864 by Alexander Drysdale Tassie, the first British
settler in Port Augusta. When his pastoral interests
failed it passed to his creditors in 1866 and became
home to a succession of GPs, the last being Dr John
Thompson who acquired it in 1941 – the current
owners bought it in 2009.
14 5 CHAPEL STREET was also owned by
Bignell early on, but in 1874 was acquired by Dr
William Markham, who became the first medical
superintendent of the Port Augusta Hospital. It was
owned from 1949 to 1991 by Mr Alan McLellan and
after he died in 1968, his wife. Mr McLellan is well
remembered for his keen interest in local history plus
a vast array of other community activities.
15 UNITING CHURCH. This was the site of the
first church of any denomination operating in Port
Augusta: the Bible Christian Society, and the original
structure’s foundation stone was laid in 1867 by A.D.
Tassie. The foundation stone for the existing two-
storied frontage was laid in 1885 by Thomas Young.
The Widow ’s Walk, the iron structure at the very top
of the steeple, is the viewing platform said to be
used by the wives of sailors who went to look for their
husband’s ship approaching. The Wesleyans had
come to Port Augusta in 1878, and they united with
the Bible Christians in 1897 to form the Methodist
Church. In 1970 the Methodist, Congregational and
some Presbyterian Churches combined to form the
Uniting Church of Australia.
16 FLINDERS HOTEL, originally Mackay ’s Hotel
and then Flinders Family Hotel. When built in 1878
by Alexander Mackay, it was said to be the largest
and most commodious hotel of its kind at that time
in South Australia. Mackay had built the first hotel
in Port Augusta in 1855, and this was his fourth, each
one more prosperous than the last. There were 12
hotels built in Port Augusta between 1878 and 1883,
but evidently this was the finest!
17 THE COMMONWEALTH BANK recently
celebrated 100 years in Port Augusta, this building
having been built in 1928.
TARGET COUNTRY opposite, now occupies the
former Young and Gordon store, which was erected
in 1882 by Bignell & Young who owned it until 1987.
18 THE TASSIE was built in 2009, the first hotel
built since 1883, replacing the Exchange Hotel, Great
Northern Hotel and The Vault which was originally
the second location of the National Bank.
19 AQUATIC AND OUTDOOR ADVENTURE
CENTRE is operated from the old Yacht Club, which
incorporated the much older Customs House, built
around 1873, itself replacing an earlier wooden
structure built in 1859. Moving towards the wharf you
will see the new Yacht Club beyond, which was built
in 1999, mostly on reclaimed land.
THE WHARF reminds us of when Port Augusta
was indeed a thriving port – this ended in the early
1970s when the last Japanese ships carrying copper
concentrate departed the port. Access restricted -
due to repairs
20 SWIMMERS’ MEMORIAL. This walled
Memorial Garden was built by the Swimming Club,
to honour its members who had made the supreme
sacrifice in WWII. As part of the foreshore re-
development, the garden was up-graded and
a re-dedication memorial service was held in
21 GREAT WESTERN BRIDGE was built in 1927.
The new Port Augusta Bridge was opened in 1972,
and renamed the Joy Baluch AM Bridge in 2013.
Heritage Walk (allow 1 to 11⁄2 hours at a leisurely pace)
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